John Dingell Biography, Age, Wife, Cancer, Death and Congress

John Dingell Biography

John Dingell (John David Dingell Jr.) was an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from December 13, 1955, until January 3, 2015. Dingell holds the record for longest-ever serving Congressperson in American history, representing Michigan for over 59 years. 

Dingell also served as the representative for Michigan’s 12th congressional district. He began his congressional career representing Michigan’s 16th district by succeeding his father, John Dingell Sr., who had held the seat for 22 years.

Dingell has the longest Congressional tenure in U.S. history, having served for over 59 years. He was also the longest-serving Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives and Dean of the Michigan congressional delegation.

He was one of the final two World War II veterans to have served in Congress; the other is Texas Representative Ralph Hall, who also left Congress in 2015. John Dingell was also a longtime member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chaired the committee for multiple terms.

On February 24, 2014, Dingell announced that he would not seek reelection to a 31st term in Congress. His wife Debbie Dingell, ran to succeed her husband and defeated Republican Terry Bowman in the general election on November 4, 2014.

 

Dingell was the last member of Congress who had served in the 1950s and during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 2014, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

John Dingell Education

John Dingell attended Georgetown Preparatory School and then the House Page School when he served as a page for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1938 to 1943.

He was on the floor of the House when President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his famous speech after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At the age of 18 in 1944, he joined the United States Army. Dingell rose to the rank of second lieutenant and also received orders to take part in the first wave of a planned invasion of Japan in November 1945; the Congressman has said President Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war really saved his life.

Dingell then attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he then graduated with a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1949 and a J.D. degree in 1952. Dingell was a lawyer in private practice, a research assistant to U.S. District Court Judge Theodore Levin, a Congressional employee, a forest ranger, and also an assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County until 1955.

John Dingell Family

Dingell was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado to Grace (née Bigler) and John Dingell Sr. (1894–1955). Dingell’s father was of Austrian and Polish descent while his mother had Swiss and Scots-Irish ancestry.

The Dingell’s were in Colorado in search of a cure for Dingell Sr.’s tuberculosis and moved back to Michigan in 1932.

John Dingell Sr.

In Michigan, Dingell Sr. was elected the first representative of Michigan’s newly created 15th District.

John Dingell Wife

Dingell married Debbie Dingell, his second wife in 1981 being 28 years his junior. Dingell was first married to Helen Henebry, an airline flight attendant. They had wed in 1952 and divorced in 1972. His son Christopher D. Dingell served in the Michigan State Senate and is also a judge on the Michigan Third Circuit Court.

John Dingell Debbie Dingell

Debbie then won the election to succeed Dingell in November 2015 taking office in January 2014. Debbie is the first non-widowed woman to immediately succeed her husband in Congress.

John Dingell Death | John Dingell Dies

John Dingell who was a gruff Michigan Democrat who entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1955 to finish his late father’s term and also became a legislative heavyweight and longest-serving member of Congress, died on Thursday, 7th February 2019. He was 92 years old at the time of his demise.

The former member of  the United States House of Representatives’ wife, Debbie Dingell who was then elected to succeed him, was with him when he died peacefully at their home in Michigan, her office said.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow wrote in a post on Twitter: “We have been incredibly lucky to have you and will miss you dearly.”

On Wednesday 6th February 2019, his wife said on Twitter that she had skipped Tuesday’s State of the Union address in Washington to be with him as his health had declined.

On 6th February 2019, Dingell dictated a tweet for his wife to write: “I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You’re not done with me just yet.”

John Dingell Cause Of Death | John Dingell Health  | John Dingell Illness

David Dingell entered hospice care in 2019 with terminal prostate cancer for which he had decided to forego treatment. Dingell had also suffered an apparent heart attack on September 17, 2018, and was hospitalized at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

John Dingell Democrat

John Sr. died in 1955 and John Jr. won a special election to succeed him.

Dingell won a full term in 1956 and was re-elected 29 times, including runs in 1988 and also in 2006 with no Republican opponent.

He received less than 62% of the vote on only two occasions.

When the Republican Revolution swept the Republicans into the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 1954 in 1994, John Jr. received 59% of the vote.

He received 57% of the vote in 2010 when the Republicans re-took control of the House of Representatives.

John’s district was numbered as the 15th District from 1955 to 1965 when redistricting merged it into the Dearborn-based 16th District; in the primary that year, and he defeated 16th District incumbent John Lesinski Jr. The redistricting merged John’s 16th District in 2002 with the Washtenaw County and also western Wayne County-based 13th District, represented by fellow Democratic Representative Lynn Rivers, whom John Jr. also bested in the Democratic primary.

The 15th District for the 109th Congress then included Wayne County suburbs generally southwest of Detroit, the Ann Arbor and also Ypsilanti areas in Washtenaw County, and all of Monroe County.

He represented much of western Detroit itself for many years, though Detroit’s declining population and also the growth of its suburbs has pushed all of Detroit into the districts of fellow Democratic representatives, who include John Conyers.

John Jr. has always won re-election by double-digit margins, although the increasing conservatism of the white suburbs of Detroit since the 1970s also led to several serious Republican challenges in the 1990s.

With Jamie L. Whitten resigning, the death of William Natcher, and also the defeat of Texas Representative Jack Brooks at the start of a new Congress in January 1995, Dengill became the Dean of the United States House of Representatives.

Dingell was one of four people to serve in the House for 50 years, the others being Whitten, Carl Vinson, and Conyers. Conyers had worked in Dingell’s congressional office.

John Dingell NRA

Being an avid sportsman and hunter, Dingell strongly opposed gun control and was also a former board member of the National Rifle Association. He received an A+ rating from the NRA for many years. He also helped make firearms exempt from the 1972 Consumer Product Safety Act so that the Consumer Product Safety Commission had no authority to recall defective guns. John’s wife, Representative Debbie Dingell, then introduced legislation in 2018 to remove this exemption from the law.

John Dingell Book

The Dean: The Best Seat in the House

John Dingell Nancy Pelosi

Working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, John Jr. helped draft an energy bill that would mandate 40% increase in fuel efficiency standards in November 2007.

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